How Orthodontists and Patients Benefit from an Intraoral Scanner

Computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM) has been utilized by general dentists for the past decade. It’s only been within the past few years that the technology that has allowed dentists to create digital impressions and mill crowns in-office has been adapted for use by orthodontists to create digital models and orthodontic appliances. Of the many tools in a CAD/CAM portfolio, perhaps the most beneficial to an orthodontist is an intraoral scanner; it benefits both patients and doctors alike:

What’s good for the orthodontist…. …Is good for the patient
High-resolution 2D and 3D images… …eliminate the need to use the alginate associated with traditional impressions.
No heaters or trolleys means… …no waiting for cumbersome trolleys to be moved from other operatories.
No need to pour molds or wait for stone models to set… …results in fewer appointments and better use of staff time.
Two interchangeable, autoclavable tips—a standard size for adults and a smaller tip for children or adults with small mouths—means…. …a more comfortable overall experience for young patients or adults with a strong gag reflex.
A unique light guidance system and high-angulation scanning capabilities aid in the capture of data during image acquisition…. …reducing the risk of remakes, meaning no “we need to you to come back in” calls to the patient.

Additional Benefits:

  • Easy-to-use software: Today’s modeling software allows practitioners to take distance measurements including overjet, overbite, pressure map, arch length, tooth size, crowding measurements and more. The software enables users to quickly create digital models.
  • Faster turnaround with labs: Once scans are acquired, and if your scanner is part of an open system, these digital files can be instantly shared with hundreds of labs across the country to create orthodontic appliances. Plus, there’s no need to package and ship stone models.
  • Reduce clutter and save space in your practice: An added perk of storing digital impressions on a computer? Space savings! Traditional stone models take up space and gather dust in your practice, while digital impressions stay organized and compact in a virtual space.

Your patients are “going digital” in their daily lives—think of cell phone pictures and e-readers. With CAD/CAM technology for orthodontists, you can offer the same speed and convenience they’ve come to expect; not to mention the countless benefits to you and your staff. Have you considered introducing an intraoral scanner to your practice? If you’re already using one, what other benefits have you, your staff and your patients experienced?

Author: Dr. Robert L. Waugh, DMD

Dr. Robert Waugh has practiced orthodontics full time in Athens, Georgia since 1989 and is also an Assistant Professor at Georgia Health Sciences University (USA) College of Dental Medicine's Orthodontic Residency program. Dr. Waugh's interests include using new technologies that help deliver better care for his patients. In 2008 he merged three offices into one facility of 24 chairs that allows him to deliver care using a wide variety of advanced modalities in hygiene, patient scheduling, treatment delivery, and more. Dr. Waugh graduated from Georgia Health Sciences University College of Dental Medicine in 1987 with both a DMD and a Masters in Oral Biology and was elected to OKU, dentistry's honor society. He earned his orthodontic certification and a second Masters degree at Baylor University in 1989. In 2000 he was board-certified by the American Board of Orthodontics. Dr. Waugh has served as President of the Georgia Association of Orthodontists and is a member of the International and American Colleges of Dentists.